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I’ve always noticed and appreciated sculptures that greet visitors of public libraries.

But lately whenever I visit a different library, I am in awe; and even when I visit the same library over and over again, I stop to admire the sculptures and how they capture the beauty of reading and the library itself–a special home open to all to share and receive that which lies within the library walls.

Recently, I visited a library that was new (to me). I’m on a mission to obtain as many library cards as I can whenever we go to a nearby city and it makes sense. Although, it may not be convenient to physically check the books out from certain more distant locations, I gain a new library card, and online access to e-books and audio books. I enjoy visiting each of the library webpages to learn about new books and librarian recommendations.

These are just a couple of the sculptures from two different libraries. It’s always fun to see the vast differences in how an artist captures the magic of reading and the libraries.

A book that comes to mind is Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100. It was one of my first free downloads, when it was available for free, when I purchased my first Kindle reader. I still need to come back to it and finish reading the reflections by various people on their favorite books from the collection.

Here I sit at the local coffee shop,
a circular construction, tables all around,
waterfalls in the background, trees reach
wide around the space, making me feel as
though I’m in a treehouse, and for these moments,
I feel free, at ease, childlike–
in my element.

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A few weeks back I went with only one bag, ready to fill it with orphan library books. It was that time of year again when the library takes stock, unloading its shelves of books that will find happy, new homes. I’ve perused Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project in the past, but didn’t immediately jump to action.

When I saw a beat up copy of the book staring out at me, I thought now seems the right time to dive in, figure out some more simple pleasure that I can add to my list and find new perspective in the familiar. There was a “Damage Noted” sticker on this one: “ragged, readable.” I taped up the front and back cover to reinforce it to get more use out of it before it starts to fall apart. I found some other books; I could’ve taken more bags, but I made a deal with myself that one bag was enough. I did also end up carrying a few books under my arms.

I’ve been dipping in and out of books. At one point I was going to pick up, in book form, where I left off in the audio version. I didn’t recognize anything, then I realized it was the wrong book and felt better. I sometimes worry that I’ll start losing track and cross plots and characters amongst the books I’m juggling. I’m usually pretty good about keeping it all separate. It’s challenging though, in the sense that I yearn to get back to one book, then another pulls me in, and that other one over there is saying, ‘read me, read me.’ All these books are vying for my attention.

Sometimes I know right away if a book and are will get a long really well; other times, I need to keep going a little longer to see if we’re a good fit. And still other times, I will feel satisfied right where I’ve stopped–forcing a new ending because another book is calling.

One book I almost gave up on is Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook. I’m so glad I didn’t. Month’s ago I started reading it, then put it aside. I had also downloaded the audio and started listening to it, then back to reading it–then perhaps it was being in one of the small bookstores looking through the tables of recommended books, and just maybe it was the woman nearby, also looking, searching, whom looked to me and said I loved this book, have you read it. I looked and because it was the hard cover, I didn’t immediately recognize it, then I said, “well, I started it, but haven’t finished it yet. I do believe it was her nudge that brought me back to the audio version. A sweet love story, that talking about, is making me want to go back for a visit.

One book that I recently downloaded is A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers. It’s different, in the way it’s organized through words–through the words the protagonist is learning, sprinkled with Chinese sayings. It has intrigued me and I think I’m in for the long haul. I want to see where this goes, how the language and thought process develops, how it ends.

Traveling through books is one of my favorite pastimes and also reading about peoples lives. I don’t always know whose lives will pull me in, wanting to read more, wanting to get to know the person more, read (hear about their experiences).

A couple of these that have recently come to my attention are Take Off Your Shoes: One Man’s Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back by Ben Fender. I am looking forward to traveling alongside Mr. Fender and his family. I’ve read up until the point where the transition begins and am happily awaiting getting back to the journey. The writing is clean and already I feel like I’m just beginning to know his family.

Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying Yes to Living by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. How could I not be inspired by a 90 year old woman, who is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and decides to say yes to life , join her son and daughter-in-law on an adventure on wheels, living out the time she has left in what may possibly be her last hurrah.

I came across these books from the daily BookBub email that I signed up for. I have found out about many great deals from them. It’s great!

http://www.bookbub.com

I came across the book, The Novel Cure while I was looking for another book in the library shelves. I like the concept of being prescribed a book for what ails you. I also like the idea of being introduced to books that I may not come across or some that I’ve read to see what the ailment was. A fun one to flip through.

Here I sit, writing in my journal, one of my tippity-top forms of happiness and one of which I’ve been depriving myself from enjoying.

Here I sit feeling the cold on my arms,
feeling my muscles tense with the chill.
One last sip from my teacup,
minty freshness perks my senses.
I hear the television in the background,
the aroma of someone’s hearty dinner wafting in the air,
happiness found in the tap tap tap of fingers on the keyboard,
as thoughts connect with words connect with the page,
making the day feel alright.

Not too long after I applied for the library position, I had a reply from the Human Resources department stating that I did not meet the minimum qualifications, but that I had the opportunity to submit additional information to show that I had what was required.

Surprisingly, the news came as a slight disappointment, not an altogether shock, and ironically, a bit of a relief. In my head, I had listed the pros and cons and reality–and well, I have cast that stone and am ready to move on and will be ready for any interesting adventures that I cross roads with.

End of chapter.

A few months back when hubby and I were on the lookout for garage sales, we saw a sign for a backyard open studio art sale. This photo is of a piece that greeted us in the front yard. It made me smile immediately. I like the way the colors of the surrounding flowers compliment it perfectly.

I’ve been gravitating toward fiction for younger readers these days and biographies or memoir in audio format and any other fiction or non-fiction that grabs me. I have more time to listen while driving, and lately I’ve been too tired to keep my eyes open for long.

I don’t remember how I came across Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. I listened to the audio version narrated by Gemma Whelan. I do remember reading that fans of the Harry Potter series may enjoy it. I must say I was immediately pulled into the story of Morrigan Crow, one of the ‘cursed children’ who who escapes her fate and finds herself whisked away into a world where anything is possible. The story was captivating, the writing lovely; just what I was needed to feed my imagination. I’m looking forward to book 2.

I think that’s it for now. The weather has cooled down dramatically. I’m sitting outside right now and almost ready to put a sweater on whereas the past few weeks the temperature has been in the high 90s. It feel good, cleansing in a way. I only pray that those effected and all the fire fighters are safe as they battle the many fires that have broken out across the country.

I sit here, feeling at peace,
the stress of the day unravels into the breeze,
Lucas stares off into the dusk,
watching the trees blow as he usually does,
inspecting the yard, barking when it suits him.
He’s satisfied, looks one last time, and goes back inside;
I follow his lead.
The day is done.

Last week was filled with moods colored by the feeling of something outside of myself that I was letting inside, or perhaps what I was feeling on the inside was coloring how things looked on the outside. I suppose it’s always a little bit of both.

I enjoy my daily beverage from Starbucks each morning–a guilty pleasure on many levels. I usually reheat my mocha in the microwave and on one morning last week, the lid fell on the counter, and with everyone being sick, I tossed it in the trash and took the cup to my desk, being careful not to tumble it over. After a while, I noticed more words than just my name, and saw that the Barista or someone had written on the cup, near where the lid was, “Have a great day : )” I needed to hear those words in that moment–I needed a positive lift to remind me that the moods of the week would pass. I wasn’t feeling especially bad at that moment, but it just felt good to have someone practice a random act of kindness in this way.

If I hadn’t dropped the lid, I may not have seen the message hidden just out of reach underneath.

**

On my daily walks, I try to find something that I haven’t noticed before or that brings a smile to my face. This little yellow flower was one of the little beauties that sought me out.

Today the body feels like it’s bein pulled down. Energy is low. I breathe in and out deeply–soaking in the bright spots of flowers and blue sky, reaching for the wind to pull me up, to soar high above the tree tops with the chirpers and blackbirds. 

I actually didn’t think we would have any view of the strip when we checked in. We were pleased with the view that we did have. It was relaxing to look out the window at Paris, Las Vegas, to see the dancing fountains of the Bellagio that are especially impressive at night from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

It was a great get-a-way. On our last day, walking back to our hotel through busy streets of people–some that had noticeably exceeded their alcohol limits–I felt ready to leave this bustling city.

Yet here I am, missing it already, planning our next trip in my mind.

**

Blinking lights and bustling streets,
this part of the city never sleeps. As the days run into weekend,
activity and people multiply before my eyes. Romantic lights
of the Bellagio tantalize. Lights and sound from every direction
rest upon my senses, pulling me in different directions. Nature far off in the background, still in sight, offering a reminder–a sense of grounding and perspective.

 

Earth Laughs in Flowers.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I came across this quote on my daily calendar of inspiration, and it really made sense to me. Right now it seems there is so much tragedy going on all around. I mean, in a way, this is always the case, but it feels as though it’s been especially heavy.

Questions, confusion, disbelief, swirl around in my mind. How can we, as human beings, these evolved creatures, not find a better way…why? is at the forefront of my mind.

I continue to maintain a sense of positivity, and I try to imagine that one day, humans may find a way to co-exist without harming themselves and others.

earth smiles upon us
in a rainbow of colors–
encouragement to keep looking up

Saturday was a good day. Each day actually hasn’t something good to appreciate, but Saturday was great because I got out of the house early before anybody was awake, even the stores weren’t quite ready for me. I started with a hot cocoa from Starbucks, then ventured over to the .99 cents store that was open. I went down each isle in search for something that I might need, being careful not to buy just because it was a bargain. I found a blank notebook. I don’t know that I really needed it; I saw it as a new beginning, a fresh start. I also bought one pack of miniature Hersey bars. I couldn’t resist.

I wanted to go to the gym. My excuse for not going was that I forgot my fanny pack, which is essential for taking only what I need. I didn’t want to go back home just for that. Instead I parked the car near the bookstore, walked over to the Walgreens, which was a couple of blocks away–a little bit of exercise, albeit not as much as if I went to the gym.

Finally, I ended the morning searching through the stacks of bargain books outside the bookstore. I haven’t actually done this for a while and it felt really good, taking my time, being by myself, not rushed and just enjoying some “me time.” I did find a handful of books and have started two, one is a collection of essays celebrating Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I need to read her much loved book. I have vague memories from my school days, but don’t feel that I’ve actually read it, so it’s on my TBR list, and I may get to it sooner than planned. I also picked up The Borrower, which has really piqued my interest. It’s quirky so far and I like quirky. Also, a Paul Auster book: Timbuktu.

When I exited the bookstore, the day settled in on my spirit. The blue skies had a softeness to them, the three little birds that I saw playing underneath a car, swept past me and I could hear the flutter of their wings. I think that was the second highlight of my morning. It practically gave me goose bumps.

I took my bag of books and my happy state of mind back home with me, ready to fold into the rest of the day.

The power is out at work, which brought me to the library on a block where, luckily, there still is power. You realize how dependent you are on the juice that makes technology possible. I can’t go in the file room to file the stack of papers I have because there’s no light. The phones are out because they’re digital. No computers. No coffee, refrigerator, microwave. None of us brought our own laptops because we didn’t plan for the outage.

I actually came to the library to work on my school work, which was fine with my boss.

The computers here are very slow. As I type this, the words intermittently lag behind my tapping fingers. It’s more of a challenge to work on school work because of the transmission delays.

Today when I wrote in my daily calendar that I’ve been wanting to visit and post on my journal blog and that I’ve come close, but not yet, perhaps I planted an additional seed that somehow brought me to the page. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

The other morning, as I was just about to get out of bed, I heard a “meow” then another. The window was slightly open, so I could hear this mystery kitty. We’ve been hearing loud running on the rooftop at night. We joked that it sounds like a tiger. I got out of bed and peeked through the blinds. Kitty was sitting atop of one of the wooden bench seats. He didn’t see me. I stared at him taking in his black, shiny coat. I clicked my tongue to get his attention; he turned his head, startled. We looked at each other for a moment, I said hello. He responded with a dash, and quickly darted off.

A sound that made me smile extra wide this week was a woodpecker pecking. I rarely hear them anymore and for some reason that sound takes me somewhere evoking a childhood giddiness inside my soul.

Sunday we plan to take the last of our things which will no longer make this home our home. There will be new sounds; lots more birds; yapping doggies, which I’ll be joyed to cuddle with.

When I passed these flowers on one of my walks during lunch hour, I almost went by without taking a photo. I couldn’t help myself; they were too beautiful and happy for me not to take them in for a bit longer.

**

Black cat meows as if in conversation with himself;
happy flowers stand at attention in flower pots,
waiting to be noticed by passerby;
woodpeckers keep on pecking even when you don’t hear them–
each day–
something the same and something surprising.